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Martial Inspiration

The martial power source needs to evoke the awesome and heroic ie not the everyday or mundane, to this end many of the abilities presented here draw inspiration from characters from ancient Celtic, Greek and Norse myth as well as figures from Arthurian legend and still others from epic literary sources. These are intended to provide rich martial artistry which goes beyond the actual field of battle and ocassionally opening up different flavors within the fight itself (see martial techniques).

Practical Arts / Skillful Methods

These are rare and challenging methods often requiring extraordinary exertion which may be learned generally by martial classes as exercises or self discovered like talents or arts which are generally akin to rituals in terms of what can be achieved and how they can thereafter be performed when suitable time and energy and sometimes equipment is available. Many enable/enhance the use of alternative skills in the performance of various activities.

  1. Acupressure (Martial Artist) -- Thieving Delay Affliction (Physical)[3]
  2. Acupuncture -- Thieving → may use Thieving to acquire and perform healing arts.
  3. *Animal Tongues  -- Nature/Insight Languages [1] (use diplomacy/insight/intimidation and so on with animals with no penalty)
  4. *Art of the Sensei / Martial Mastery -- insight →Forge Weapon/Armor (Create Inherent Weaponry/Defense Abilities) and Create Martial Grandmaster Training.[1]  - development tool
  5. *Aura Manipulation  --Insight/Healing (Type of Deception Stealth)[6]
  6. *Aura Reading  --Insight (sense levels and battle role)[6]
  7. *Awaken Magic Device  --Intimidate→( item repeats daily)
  8. *Battle Speech (Warlord) -- Ins/Dip → (Aid Other bonus for attacks and defenses adds reach)[4]
  9. Beast Bond --Athletics/Nature  (accelerated familial bond creation)
  10. *Blood Bond: (blood-rite) --Diplomacy Comrades Succor[1] (the ingredients are frequently alcohol or occasionally high luxury foods)
  11. *Blood Demand / Blood Oath (blood-rite) --Intimidate Mark of Justice (ext. influence via created mental affliction)[8]
  12. *Breaching Ram / Splitting the Mountain -- Dungeoneering or Athletics or EndurancePasswall[12]
  13. *Bringing In The Herd:Mounts -- Nature  Phantom Steed[6]
  14. Bringing In The Herd:Swarm  -- Nature  Obscuring Swarm
  15. Bringing In The Herd:Stampede  -- Nature  Dangerous Terrain
  16. Cold Reading / Hidden Interrogation -- Insight   surreptitiously gather information from someone without them knowing it. Used in spying or to claim unknown or magical sources. In the latter case it becomes effectively Insight used to perform Bluff. 
  17. Consuming the Blood of the Mighty -- history (endurance) → gain legendary boon - development tool.
  18. Cooking: Condensed Rations (Lembas) -- ?? (temporary hitpoints following a meal twice per day)
  19. Master of Cyphers -- history → better than linguistics you can figure out things encoded with secrecy in mind, languages too you can read any language related to one you know fluently but and with effort and time even those unrelated.
  20. Death Trance / Sleep of Kings -- as per false death  False Death ++ ( also delays afflictions and suspends aging ) [4]
  21. Deep Sea Swimmer (Beowulf) -- endurance/athletics → underwater distance running like effect
  22. Disguise/Makeup -- Thievery (self/others) → (thievery in the place of bluff when changing a person's appearance as part of a deception you can actually aid appearance by culturally appropriate use. [2]
  23. Distance Runner-- endurance/athletic/intimidation You push your body beyond any normal degree is it an act of will or sheer physicality
  24. False Death -- endurance/insight/hypnosis mind over matter reduced heart rate and pain suppression a perfect innocuous disguise [2]
  25. *Forge Mastery --Endurance/Athletics Crafting items open and able to absorb into them the worlds inherent magic and bound to the will and bloodline of those it is crafted for [1]
  26. *Fourth Dimensional Packing --Thief/Perc/Dun Tenser's Disk (improved distributed carrying cap.) [1]
  27. Grail Quest (item and blood-rite) -- endurance (resurrection)
  28. Heritage Claim (blood-rite) --intimidate (binds object to user.)
  29. *Heroic Exertion -- Endurance → (repeat a GMT daily.)
  30. Heroes Shout -- Athletics  (triggers social empowerments within martial culture akin to the skald's signs of influence allows usage and learning based on Athletics instead of Diplomacy)
  31. Hone Weapon -- ???  (enhance next use akin to one shot alchemical adjustment)
  32. Hospitality -- history/diplomacy → (shelter, succor, sustenance)
  33. Hunters Mind  -- Nature → (spend surge to maintain if damaged see through partial concealment)
  34. Hurl into Space -- Athletics → (temporarily sequester an object)
  35. Hypnosis - Diplomacy, Bluff → this practice allows a set of arts that are normally (self only) or medically induced to use diplomacy skill and affect others (healing surge cost  is often paid by the subject)  - Examples method acting and psychiatric treatment
  36. Influence of Station -- history/diplomacy → (attendants and audience)
  37. *Inspired Recuperation (Warlord) -- Diplomacy Fantastic Recuperation[16]
  38. *Jury Rig / McGyver -- Theiving, (Dungeoneering) Engineering Incredible reparations you do not even need to know for certain what the device originally did. You are also able to spend time to improvise tools to enhance many activities like lock picks and levers and similar.
  39. Library Arts (Bard)  -- History, Bluff → accelerated indexing interpretation, aid other enhancement instead of +2 on history checks in the Library get +5 and enable entire party to have +1
  40. Marshal Troops / Oath of Fealty (Warlord) -- History/Diplomacy → (efficient acq. and application of troops/followers towards a challenge ) [6]
  41. Messenger Birds -- Nature → Animal Messenger (more range but more limited destinations sometimes using pheromones to can be used to temporarily change destinations )
  42. Method Acting -- Insight   subject may use insight in place of bluff to play a role and pretend they are someone other than themselves.
  43. Mimicry -- Perception → (perception  in place of bluff when changing your voice is a fundamental part of a deception this also allows perception to be used in place of nature while foraging for meat by using animal calls preparation time involves listening to an analysis of the sound/voice you are to mimic.)
  44. *Oath of Independence / Riddle of Steel  -- Athletics / Endurance →Disenchant (Destroy magic item you can grasp turns it into a useless chunks and bits you can convert their value into karma, it can be hard to safely donate a magic weapon to charity)[6] - dev  tool.
  45. *Oath Binding -- Insight/Diplomacy → Create Grandmaster Training.[4] - development tool.
  46. *Oath of Truth (blood-rite) -- Intimidate → (stutter/tongue swells if they lie)[2]
  47.  Preys Instinct: *Obscure Trail (Scout/Ranger/Rogue) -- Nature / Streetwise/ Dungeoneering → ( sense and lose adversary following you even a persistent enemy will have lost you for a time )[1]
  48. Preys Instinct: *Double Back -- Perception (Nature|Streetwise) gain surprise on those trailing
  49. Parkour (French Military) -- Acrobatics / Athletics  (evade difficult terrain and fast climbing.)
  50. Peerless Tracker -- Nature →(perfect safe travel to the target)
  51. Reincarnative/Akashic/Ancestral Dream (blood-rite)  -- History →(skilled sleepwalking) karma cost from task performed [2]
  52. *Psychiatric Treatment --Insight Delay (Mental) Affliction[4]
  53. Reading the Battle/Eyes of the Huntress-- perception/nature Identifying incredible amountss of information about creatures and what they did based on the tell tale signs of a battle
  54. Skillful Guide (terrain) -- Insight/Diplomacy  Enhances "aid other" making it multiple target and when pushed speeds protracted activity at the cost of a healing surge
  55. *Surgery (Croaker/Aesclepius/Dian Cecht)  -- Healing / Thieving Remove (physical) Affliction.[6]
  56. *Surge of Strength   -- Athletics / Endurance / Intimidation / A burst of controlled physical power [5]
  57. Sweat It Out -- Endurance/Athletics(self)/Healing→ Cure Disease
  58. The Perfect Price -- Insight → Bribery++ This ability represents analysing a subject and discovering things they value more than their actual price inorder to allow you trade them in place of the normal exchange the mechanical effect is a discount its not necessarily bribery though that is a context players may see it most often used, it can take significant investment of time to fulfill or acquire what is desired.
  59. *Training Montage / Training From Hell -- Endurance → Retrain an Ability  ( Also allows converting items in to Karma and acquisition of new GMT or Martial Techniques) [12] - development tool.
  60. *Trained Preparedness (Scout/Warlord) -- Insight/Streetwise (purchase on the fly)
  61. *Transcendental Meditation / Sleeping in the Saddle (Martial Artist/Soldier) -- End/Heal Alarm  [1]
  62. Travelers Foresight(Ranger/Soldier) -- Insight/Nature Direction Sense and Weather Prediction, you are never disoriented nor often surprised by natures whims
  63. Treetop Runner/Brachiation -- Acrobatics or Athletics - effects similar to flight no tracks and no impact of most forms of difficult or dangerous terrain and accelerated speed  but over forest areas and similar (choose evades landbound encounters or skyward)
  64. *Wrestling with Death (blood-rite) -- Athletics AND Insight Cure (Mortal) Disease[6]

Integrating with 4e

At some level these practical arts a replacement for martial practices and you shouldnt need Martial Power II to use them the practices from that book have been replaced reballanced and represented in these rules. If martial practices had been a part and parcel of the original 4e design you can pretty much garantee they would have been integrated into classes like the Warlord and Monk and possibly Ranger/Rogue just as the Wizard and Cleric and similar caster classes have rituals by default, to that end we will be making adjustments to various classes to use the Practical Arts.

Class Specific

To maintain flexibility arts are not class specific however quite a few will be designated favored, favored for a class get a bonus +2 on their performance roll.

Multiclassing should allow the hero the benefit of favored arts of the class you multi-class into (or perhaps pick 4 to be favored). Certain backgrounds may have favored arts as well.(Nobles for instance likely have influence of station and mayhaps others)

Monks Inner Peace

You gain the bonus feat "Martial Artistry" and may learn and perform practical arts thereby. In spite of its arguably misidentified source, the Monk class is considered fully martial for purposes of these rules, it was in a true sense the original D&D martial artist and that D&D monk is in fact insprition for many of these arts and the original practices, and arguably the martial power source itself.

Favored Arts
  • Art of the Sensei
  • Animal tongues
  • False Death
  • Distance runner
  • Oath of Independence
  • Parkour
  • Transcendental meditation
  • Tree top runner


Berserk is a Fighting method and Barbarian is a Culture / Background - yes D&D always gets this wrong and usually in multiple ways

This is probably not the place to fix that but rather to allow flexible interesting interpretations so we get Ancestor Dreams alongside Conans Riddle of Steel and Cu Cuhlaines Heroes Shout and Gilgameshes Distance Runner.

Favored Arts
  • Ancestral Dreaming
  • Beast Bond
  • Bringing in the Herd: Mounts
  • Heroes Shout
  • Hunters Mind
  • Distance Runner
  • Obscure Trail
  • Peerless Tracker
  • Riddle of Steel (Oath of Independence)
  • Trackers Eye

The First Martial Class

This is the class which arguably in the earliest version of D&D - was the sole representative of Martial I highly recommend they be given a decent number of trained skills as a factor of rebalancing the non-combat arena of your game. (Automatic Athletics plus 4 others would be commparable to the Wizards, and opening up their skill set of the class who guards to include perception and insight also makes sense) and perhaps since the idea is to balance issues any character with fewer skills pre-racial should get 4 trained plus 1 defined by class.

Favored Arts

  • Battle Speech
  • Distance Runner
  • Heroes Shout
  • Heroic Exertion
  • Hurl into Space
  • Oath of Truth
  • Blood Demand
  • Sweat it Out
  • Wrestle with Death

The Art of War

Art of War- You gain the bonus feat "Martial Artistry" and may learn and perform practical arts thereby. Additionally you have mastered one 1st-level favored Warlord practice—plus one other 1st-level practice of your choice, and possess a strategy book.

In addition, once per tier per day, warlords can perform a warlord favored art of their level or lower without exertion (expending karma or risking a healing surge). They must still fullfill other requirements of the art.

Favored Arts

  • Blood Bond
  • Battle Speech
  • Heritage Claim
  • Hospitality
  • Influence of Station
  • Marshal Troops
  • Preys Instinct: Double Back
  • Sleep of Kings

Practical Options

Bards may choose between rituals and practices arts in their class feature. And may select practices in place of his free rituals and gain the following favored arts

Favored Arts

  • Hospitality
  • Influence of Authority
  • Mimicry
  • Library Arts
  • Method Acting
  • Makeup / Disguise

Nimble Climber

Rogues gain the Parkour practice by default : Rogues arguably were the original adept climbers not enabling Dexterity climbing seems to have been something of an error.

Favored Arts:
  • Cold Reading
  • Disguise
  • False Death
  • Fourth Dimensional Packing
  • Hypnosis
  • Parkour
  • Preys Instinct : Obscure Trail
  • Preys Instinct : Double Back
  • The Perfect Price

Natures Soldier

Rangers may pick 2 of their favored that they know for free at level 1. And one additional when they reach paragon and Epic levels. Beastmaster Rangers can additionally be assumed to also have the Beast Bond and Communicate well with their companion beast.

Favored Arts
  • Animal Tongues
  • Beast Bond
  • Bringing in the Herd: Mounts
  • Bringing in the Herd: Swarm
  • Distance Runner
  • Double Back
  • Hunters Mind
  • Messenger Birds
  • Obscure Trail
  • Peerless Tracker
  • Trackers Eye

Prices of Power in Practice

One of the things MPIII intends is to assure that the price of practical arts are “worth it”.

What is the value of knowing/employing the right practice when it really counts? - the DMG2 gives us an answer - an auto success in a skill challenge, this is a take out from those guidelines associated with improvised use of money and healing surges, they will be leveraged fairly heavily. So if you do not agree with this (perhaps thinking it under valued the influence of gold ) you might need to adjust the numbers here. Additionally these rules actually maintain the vaule of skill checks while doing this.

The DMG2 accredited pocket cash of 1/10 of a magic item cost (the monetary price of a success in a skill challenge) equates to one healing surge expenditure. Examining the cost of rituals brings the conclusion that Martial Practices are usually too expensive when compared to rituals. (looking at the numbers range from ¼ to ½ what one would expect). The proposed method for bringing that cost in line for MPIII is a skill check in the skill governing the practice to reduce a practices healing surge cost by 1 in effect allowing the average to approximately match ritual efficiency.

Variable Cost Chart

Based on an associated skill check

30+ 1/50th magic item cost at level
21 - 29 1/40th magic item cost at level
11 - 20 1/30th magic item cost at level
10 or less 1/20th magic item cost at level

Optionally a natural 20 is free and a natural 1 is full 1/10 the cost of an item.

Level in the table is not necessarily the level at which you gain the art but rather more of a use cost based on usefulness - many arts may be gained later but have lower level usage costs. Hurl into space is an example its DC is 16 around level 4 but its rather epic in flavor so only obtained much later.

Enumerated Usage Costs and Difficulties to reduce HS cost

level [1/10]1/501/401/301/20DC
3[68]1315 233416
4[84]1721 2842
23[42500]8500106251450021250 26
30[562500] 11250014062518750025625030